Spring has most definitely sprung, chez rusty duck
Our daily climb up the 84 steps to collect the post has become positively colourful over the last couple of weeks. If I’m honest, I’d prefer to see large drifts of Tete a Tete or a similar diminutive daffodil in this spot, small enough to enable the hellebores to take centre stage. It will take a while to pull off. I have been thinning the bulbs of the blowsier specimens that are there but they’ve sunk themselves down so deep over the years I rarely succeed in removing them.
We’ve enjoyed truly fabulous weather this week. Dry, sunny and pleasantly warm once the sun has lifted the early morning chill. It couldn’t be better for gardening. Up on the bank, last year’s perennial foliage is progressively getting cleared, allowing us to marvel at all the new shoots coming through. On the other side of the steps, above, lies ‘Elephant Pass’ and the new rhododendron bed. The last of the refugees have been freed from their pots and properly planted this week. I’ve purchased a new camellia too, to keep them company:
Camellia x williamsii ‘ETR Carlyon’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Anja Oudolf’
Added to the garden last year, Anja hasn’t come back quite as strongly this time around, but she did manage a single (nibbled) bloom. If my previous experience with hellebores comes good again, next year will see a much improved plant.
Hellebores ‘Penny’s Pink’ (top) and ‘Cinderella’
Cinderella bears the classic downward facing flowers. Even planted at eye level, here on the Precipitous Bank, she modestly hides her true beauty.
An extremely uncomfortable camera position is amply rewarded.
Euphorbia ‘Black Pearl’
A curious but, to my eyes anyway, strikingly beautiful euphorbia. I am a sucker for black blooms.
And in the greenhouse, another curiosity. It has a beard, much like an iris, and from a distance looks as though it is playing host to a trio of bees. Moraea loubseri is found on limestone and calcareous sand in the southwestern Cape. It was discovered in 1973 by Johan Loubser, who found it on Olifantskop, at a site which had been partially mined as a quarry. It has never been found at any other location. Although its site is now protected, numbers are extremely small and in the mid-2000s it was even feared to be extinct in the wild. Fortunately it is fairly easy to grow in cultivation. (Information from the Pacific Bulb Society.)
A recent acquisition, it remains to be seen how easy it will be for me. It grows from a corm (let’s whisper it.. rodents may be listening), is frost sensitive and needs to remain TOTALLY dry over the summer. Ha Ha HAAA! You can see why it will never take off in the south west of England. The recommendation is to keep it in an alpine house, but in the absence of one of those I am currently shuttling it to and from the greenhouse, leaving it outside in a sheltered spot during the day for fear that the already excessive heat under glass will crisp those delicate petals. The things we do for love. And for a challenge.
Ipheon ‘Alberto Castillo’
On the same shuttle bus is this delightful bulb.
Ipheon ‘Alberto Castillo’
The back of the bloom is possibly even more beautiful than the front.
Swathes of it now, cascading down the bank and smothered in bees. Useful ground cover but sadly boring once the flowers have gone. It’s still my plan to try and seed the gaps with californian poppies in the hope they will create an orange drift later in the year. Assuming I haven’t missed the boat. Our heavy soil may have already dried out too much for sowing and the weather is set fair for the next week at least. Can’t quite believe I am saying it, but we may actually need some rain!
Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens, where you will find a feast of March bloomers from around the world.